Thierry Mugler is tapping into the power of womanhood with his new fragrance, the first major brand he has launched since Alien in 2005.
The entry, due out in the fall, is called Womanity, a made-up word meant to associate with femininity, humanity and city. The designer — who launched the groundbreaking and still top-ranked Angel in 1992 — was interested in breaking the industry mold once again,according to Joel Palix, president of the Paris-based Clarins Fragrance Group Worldwide, which includes Thierry Mugler Parfums.
Spirits are high at the company. Although executives declined to disclose numbers, industry sources estimate the new scent could generate $80 million to $90 million at retail in the first 12 months of its global launch, with 10 to 15 percent of that total earmarked for media support. Angel still generates an estimated 200 million euros, or $264 million, in retail sales worldwide and Alien does about 60 percent of that total.
Palix said Mugler, buttressed by focus groups, sees the evolving quest of women as a drive to express themselves and their ideas. He created a Web site, Womanity.com, as a platform for dialogue. The more women connected with each other, according to Mugler’s perception, the more creativity is released.
The site was launched on March 8 and it attracted one million visitors so far. In addition, Mugler produced a surrealistic film in the South of France, featuring unknown actresses “as a tribute to the new femininity of women meeting other women,” Palix said.
In order to create content for the site, one idea is to provide the beginning of a story that will be finished by different women, each writing their own page. A contest will solicit ideas from women for a particular project or cause. The winner will work with Mugler in completing it.
The fragrance was designed to be a part of this phenomenon, with a suitably pink bottle. The womanhood connection is represented as a chain and ring dangling from the top of the bottle, which is encased in a metal “frieze” that is inscribed with symbolic designs. Noting that the figures could be interpreted as Gothic, Art Deco or a style from another period altogether, Palix said, “[Mugler] wanted all generations of women to be encapsulated in the frieze.”
The composition of the fragrance is classic Mugler in that the formula, developed by Mane, is powered by a contrast of elements. Pierre Aulas, olfactive artistic director of the Clarins Fragrance Group, said the challenge was in working with Mugler’s idea to pair savory and sweet accords. Using a new molecular extraction process, Mane was able to pluck odiferous molecules out of a fig fruit for the sweet accord. The savory element came from caviar. Structure was provided from the woodsy elements of the fig tree.
In order to reach a younger audience, pricing was made somewhat more accessible, Palix noted. The opening price point in the U.S. of the eau de parfum spray is $58 for a 1 oz. size. The 1.7-oz. size is priced at $78 and the 2.7 oz. is $98. There will be three ancillary items as well — a perfumed shower gel for $40, a body milk for $5 and a body cream for $55. All are 6.8-oz. bottles.
In keeping with consumers’ ecological sensitivities, the bottle is refillable and the amount of cardboard used in the outer packaging has been minimized by eliminating leaflets and inserts. Also, the box was designed to be unfolded to reveal the idea of the fragrance printed inside.
It will be available on Web sites in June, then go on counter at Selfridges in London on July 8 and ship to major European chains in August. Bloomingdale’s will launch it in New York in mid-July for an exclusive before select Nordstroms get the fragrance in early October. A full rollout will begin at the end of the month, according to Jonathan Zrihen, president and chief executive officer of Clarins Group USA and Canada. He estimated the ultimate U.S. door count at 700.
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